51% of child car seats checked in the last year were fitted incorrectly, according to Car Seat Safety Ltd. Make sure your child’s car seat is fitted safely by following our 10 quick checks.
Last year, car seat fitting experts Child Car Seat Safety Ltd checked 1,800 child car seats at community checking events (where a free checking service is offered to parents at supermarkets and retails parks) and enforcement days (where police officers pull cars off the road for safety checks).
Overall, more than half of the child car seats checked were fitted incorrectly. Many of the mistakes were common ones, such as the seatbelt not being in the route guides or Isofix points not being clicked into place, and 74% of these were easily rectifiable.
However, some faults were related to whether the child was in the right car seat for their age, weight or height, and so a different seat would be needed to offer maximum protection.
Take a look at our child car seat reviews to find the best for your child. If you’re not a member yet, you can unlock all our reviews, from child car seats and pushchairs to washing machines and TVs, with a £1 trial subscription to Which?.
10 simple child car seat fitting checks
Even if you have bought the safest child car seat, it may not protect your child if it’s fitted incorrectly.
The checks found many common fitting problems. Of those that could be rectified:
- 32% needed the child car seat harness adjusting
- 23% of car seats fitted using a seatbelt had issues with the seatbelt being too loose or twisted
- 24% of car seats fitted using a seatbelt, had issues with the seatbelt not being in the route guides correctly
- 18% of those with Isofix weren’t installed correctly
To help address these issues and help you ensure that your child’s seat isn’t putting them in danger, we’ve put together 10 simple child car seat checks to ensure your child’s seat is safely fitted. Click on the link to read these 10 checks. You can also download these check as a printable checklist, which means you can take it to the car with you to check.
Best child car seats
It’s important that when you choose a child car seat, you get the right one for your child – you can take a look at our guide to buying a child car seat to help you choose.
Car seats are divided into groups by weight and your child should be within the weight limits of the seat – many of the car seats checked were too big for the child. You also need to make sure it fits in your car as not all car seats are compatible with all cars.
Child Car Seat Safety Ltd also found that around 4% of people were using condemned or recalled child car seats – car seats with known issues, that the manufacturers are advising people to replace.
Our tests, which are more stringent than the standard UK tests, have found big safety differences between good child car seats and bad ones. Make sure your child is in the safest possible seat with our Best Buy child car seats, and see our discontinued Don’t Buy child car seats to make sure you don’t own one.